How to Cope With Stress From News and Current Events

Today, it can be difficult to read the news, scroll through social media or even attend a family gathering without stories about social movements or political unrest coming up. These issues can trigger strong emotional responses and affect relationships.听

鈥淔or some people, current events can trigger traumatic reactions from past events in their lives, even if they are not similar situations. At the same time, they鈥檙e experiencing new and ongoing stress,鈥 says Gurmeet Kanwal, M.B., B.S., clinical associate professor of psychiatry at 麻豆色情片 Medicine and associate attending psychiatrist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. 鈥淩elationships can also become tense and even break under the pressure of different political and social views.鈥

A Balancing Act

Continuously being exposed to the images and rhetoric surrounding social movements and political events can trigger anxiety and anger in many people. For some, it can even lead to a .听

While staying informed of events is important, taking steps to limit your exposure is equally as important.

I think that what we don't realize enough is that our daily informational diet is just as important for our mental health as our nutritional diet is for our physical health,鈥 Dr. Kanwal says. 鈥淒on't allow every news channel to send you notifications on every device, listen to the news one or two times a day, not all day long, and don't have your social media feed on the screen while you're working.鈥

Practicing Compassion

Another effective way to handle emotions is to act compassionately toward people with viewpoints different from your own. Dr. Kanwal recommends three strategies:

  • Ask questions instead of assuming that you already understand an issue.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, which can make it easier to be more accepting of others.
  • Remember that everyone is in the situation together and we are all trying to navigate through it in our own way.

In addition, when talking with friends or family members who have differing viewpoints, keep the main goal in mind.

鈥淒ialogue should not be about convincing someone else that you are right or about putting down the other person's viewpoint,鈥 Dr. Kanwal says. 鈥淚t should be about both people learning something from the conversation. Sometimes it can help to set ground rules, such as only one person speaks at a time, or each person gets to call a timeout.鈥

Inspired to Act

Not all emotions that arise as a response to social movements are negative. You might feel you have a new purpose and be inspired to take positive actions, such as being creative or participating in marches.

鈥淔inding ways to express your feelings in an artistic form can be very useful during times like this, as can being an ally and taking appropriate social action,鈥 Dr. Kanwal says. 鈥淔or example, when you take an active part against racism, you are not only helping those who are oppressed. You are also preventing yourself from feeling helpless and depressed.鈥

Need help processing your emotions? Find a behavioral health specialist at 麻豆色情片 Medicine.听

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